Release DetailsLABEL Black Market Activities
RELEASED ON 4/27/2010
The Abominable Iron Sloth
The Id Will Overcome
posted on 6/2010 By:
Among the more useful things I studied during my largely-squandered college years was game theory. This young and broadly applicable discipline features a concept known as "rational irrationality," or in its more colorful moments, the "madman theory." The notion is that in some cases, presenting yourself as a slavering whack-job actually improves your options and gets better results than behaving like a normal person would -- think of a wacky dictator who keeps larger, more powerful countries at bay by holding his own citizens hostage.
A lot of bands from metal's more extreme ranges make use of this tactic, after a fashion; depicting themselves as "crazy" fits aesthetically and allows them to explain eccentric behavior. Take The Abominable Iron Sloth as an example. Between their constant lineup and name changes (they become The Indomitable Iron Sloth at the drop of a hat), their inconsistent activity and their burn-the-world lyrical bent, this Washington-based sludge act--which really boils down to frontman Justin Godfrey and whatever 'friends' he's got on tap at any given time--stands to gain by talking about themselves as if they were fucking psychos.
Godfrey, at least, does just that, discussing his (former) habit of "drinking himself delusional almost daily" and his desire to suicide-bomb Glenn Beck in interviews, not to mention covering Charlie Manson on this album ("Big Iron Door"). And it works for the Sloth-if anything, a bit too well. The Id Will Overcome sounds like it might be the work of actual crazy people rather than strategizing fronters; lest we forget, genuine loons differ from normal folks in that they're inconsistent as fuck and not typically capable of finishing what they start.
Like Eyehategod, Grief and countless other members of the sludge milieu, this band balances roaring, earthy fuzz- tones with a malicious disregard for melody and desperately screeched vox. The Id Will Overcome nails all the right aesthetic descriptors for this kind of metal--"caustic," "abusive," "nihilistic," "cracked-out." If you want nothing more than to freak out some unsuspecting Creed fans, this'll do the trick for sure.
But unlike Eyehategod and the other acts who rule their grimy underworld, The Abominable Iron Sloth haven't mastered that most important feature -- writing memorable, cohesive songs. Godfrey, for whatever reason (his punk influences? His crazy craziness?) has penned mostly sub-three-minute vignettes that stagger around long enough to mess up your speakers, but too briefly to stick in your ears. Scattered among them are a few fully-formed cuts that show what this band is really capable of, especially "Nineties Male" and "Two Black Helicopters," but the gratification they provide can't compensate for the frustration imposed by The Id Will Overcome's lack of focus.
It's fitting, in a way, that this album devotes more than a quarter of its running time to its longest track, "Heterodox Nonconformists." This 'song' is fourteen minutes of muffled whumps and presumably paranoia-inducing echoey sounds. Maybe that's what being crazy sounds like; I wouldn't know. But on an album that's otherwise so desperately in need of follow-through, it's a reminder that rational irrationality can give way to old-fashioned shooting yourself in the foot when taken too far.
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